About Chicago KICS

Chicago KICS (Kids in Chicago Sport) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by Dr. Scott Hanlon, a family physician and former commissioner of the Chicago Park District under Mayor Richard Daley. Chicago KICS started off in 2006 as the Near South Soccer League (NSSL) a nonprofit, all volunteer youth soccer league with only 50 players.  Our mission was simply to promote a healthy sport environment for children with a focus on equal playtime, fun soccer education and community engagement.  As our community spirit and participation grew, KICS responded to the demand by offering more expansive soccer programming.  Through the process of strategic planning, our organization also developed a more focused mission.  


Today, KICS is proud to be the fastest growing youth soccer organization in the city of Chicago serving over 2000 families. With a nonprofit emphasis aimed on providing year-round recreational and competitive programs and initiatives for boys and girls, ages toddler through high school. KICS proudly serves youth from a broad range of multicultural and socioeconomic backgrounds in South Loop, Printer’s Row, Chinatown, University Village, Pilsen, Loop, West Loop, Bridgeport, Bronzeville, Kenwood, Hyde Park and many more to come.

Our Programs include:  

Soccer for Success is a key part of our KICS mission.  Through donations and grants, KICS provides soccer programing from our professional coaching staff to hundreds of At-Risk youth within Chicago Public Schools. Further, our team is working to integrate these youth into our KICS Community soccer program year-round. We currently serve (7) Chicago Public Schools in the 3rd and 4thward communities with an aim of scaling this program to reach (20) CPS schools by 2020. As Soccer for Success expands, KICS will continue to work with our local Alderman and Chicago Community Policing to provide valuable data to study the positive effect of after school programming on reduced youth violent crime.

KICS Teen Work Initiative is a very exciting program which focuses on educating and empowering teens and pre-teens by providing opportunities for youth employment and building a foundation of valuable life skills. KICS has already mentored over 100 teens and pre-teens through the process of becoming state qualified soccer referees. Further, KICS hires these referees year-round and pays them an excellent wage. KICS aims to scale our enrichment programing by offering additional employment opportunities and educational programs such as, a coaching development program and marketing internships and mentorships. KICS is also partnering with a financial stakeholder to provide practical lessons to teens and pre-teens on how to handle money wisely, establishing a solid foundation for doing so when they become adults. Focusing on teaching kids how to save money, the importance of giving and much more. 

KICS Toddlers is our program designed to introduce kids to soccer at a very young age. Our program provides a fun, positive and structured environment, while allowing the parent to be involved with the child’s growth and participation.  With a strong focus on play, fun and making friends, this age specific program has curriculum based around child development. Experienced coaches and parents work together to progress the players physical, social and mental skills. The toddlers will experience a fun soccer setting, continuing to learn basic skills that will allow them to grow as a player.

Chicago Community League is a volunteer coaching, recreational soccer league for boys and girls ages U4-U14 years. Players are divided into divisions and teams based on age and skill level. In addition to KICS teams, local, public elementary and middle school’s partner with KICS to enter teams in the league to serve as an extension of school athletics.  Our community league aims to offer an educational and fun league experience that teaches the basic soccer skills to youth players with help from our parents, friends, family, neighbors and directors.  

Chicago Private League (CPL) develops well-balanced, successful student athletes in a positive, encouraging environment among 20+ Chicago private schools. We hope that all who participate in our leagues share our values of community, involvement and equality.

KICS International Showcase “Empowering Global Unity” – KICS is working to advance peace through soccer with competition, camaraderie and cultural exchange. Since 2014, KICS has been hosting our annual international youth soccer tournament each summer in the Near South and Near West neighborhoods of Chicago. The tournament brings 100 plus, local, regional and international teams together in competition for the coveted KICS CUP. If the world could speak one language, that language would be soccer.  With a goal of scaling our tournament to 250 teams by 2021, KICS fosters soccer as an opportunity to speak to one another to make the world a more peaceful place.